'Planetary consciousness' was a phrase used by Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan as he talked with his students in Europe in the 1920's. The seed of his idea was planted in what may well have seemed infertile ground, given the social, political and economic setting of the time, sandwiched between two world wars and on the verge of world wide economic depression.

An outer manifestation of this planetary consciousness was Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan's founding of Ziraat as one of the five branches of the Sufi Order in 1927. Its aim was to promote the spiritual realization of individuals, and attunement and harmony with Mother Earth and all who live upon her.

"Pir-o-Murshid was a pioneer and at a certain point, in fact in the last year or the last two years of his life he foresaw that there might be a time when we would be very glad to find pure water and pure earth and pure air. And that is how he introduced the Zira'at, and it is based upon a covenant. I shall give you an example of that; it is a story.

There was a lawyer in India who was a politician and he was considered to be the „Tiger of India" because he was so fierce against the British. While he was walking home after a conference there was a leper, and the leper asked, if he could carry him to the water, and he thought, I can't do that, I don't want to catch leprosy. And then on his way back to his wife he felt so bad. Me, who is supposed to be so courageous! And I am afraid of helping my fellow-man! And so he went back and carried him to the water. And when he got back to his wife he said, I am giving up my job, I am going to start a leper-colony. The government, as it is, the Indian government offered them the worst piece of land that they could find and it was infested by rats. The rats would come and would nibble the toes of the lepers. And the reason why there were rats is because the previous owners had killed all the cobras. Now, his name was Doctor Ampti. So, Doctor Ampti made a special ceremony with the king and queen cobra. I don't know how they made a promise to each other, but the covenant was that the cobras would not attack the humans as long as the humans did not attack the cobras. A few months later his little girl of three years old was playing with the cobras, and people who came said, can you imagine how dangerous ...? - No, it's alright!

So, that is Zira'at, that is the secret of Zira'at. It is to establish a covenant with the earth, with the water and so on. And I must say that that is a continuation of the inheritance of Zoroastrianism, and of course this is the only salvation for planet earth at this point!" Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

"Murshid modeled Zira´at on the activity which is the very basis of human civilization: agriculture. In agriculture physical laws and natural forces are harmonized with the human mind and its sense of order; ecology and psychology are reconciled. Neither nature nor humanity acting alone can produce the crops which yield 'the bread of life'. Murshid, with a musician´s sensitivity to rhythm and harmony, perceived in the manner of farming, with all its carefully timed stages, intrinsic parallels with the rhythm of spiritual accomplishment. Ploughing, harrowing, sowing, reaping, threshing, gathering, and farming all have their inner significations. Zira´at (Arabic for agriculture) is an experiential progression through these stages which culminate in spiritual fruition. Central to Zira´at work is a lodge ritual. Performed outdoors, its attunement is to God´s immanence. Accordingly, the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether), which collectively constitute God´s physical being, are reverenced in turn. Coming to terms with the elements is key to Zira´at, and is maintained as a daily practice by initiates. The ceremony also includes other ritual features that contribute to the sacred space, which invokes a sanctity that is not other-worldly, but here and now." - Pir Zia Inayat Khan

Sufi Order International (in German)